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Monday, June 4, 2012

Dennis Prager about people getting offended and Americanism

I just read an interview over at Breitbart of Dennis Prager by Dave Gordon.  Without parroting the article too much, Dennis Prager is a strong and prominent voice for conservatism in America.  Alot of what he says is down to earth and intelligent.  While I've caught several articles and videos featuring Mr. Prager, what caught my eye about this article is his response about people getting offended over something he's said in a speech, lecture, etc:

Q: People often come up to you after your lectures and say they’re offended by something or other you’ve said. You’ve maintained that a person has a choice whether to be offended. You also say that words are “things” that can be thrown at people, they can hurt. 

A:  They’re not mutually exclusive. We do choose whether to be offended. For example, a pro-choice person who might hear a pro-life speaker might say they are offended. What they really should say is that they differ. They’ve chosen to be offended. If someone flips me off from another car, I choose whether or not to let that hurt me. There are times, however, when one says something hurtful to their spouse, my God, of course they’re going to be hurt. To a certain extent, we should allow who we allow to hurt us. My wife can hurt me, but a caller to my show can’t. It’s very important to remember.

This is an answer I've been looking to find for a while.  You see, it's always been my mind set that people today get offended too easily.  They're so busy being offended about everything that it not only makes them miserable, but those around them.  It's a result of the politically correct indoctrination and victimizing mindset that has been foisted upon society for the last several decades.  Everybody's a victim and everyone deserves justice/reconciliation for all the wrongs that have been done to them.  People that get offended feel like a victim of someone else's "insensitive and cruel" words.

Unlike Mr. Prager, I couldn't quite put my finger on exactly where this mindset goes wrong.  But I think the above is the answer:  People choose to be offended.  He makes the distinction between the true reaction to someone that may say something hurtful, fundamentally disagreeable, or just plain insensitive and becoming offended.  In other words, being offended is not a natural reaction.   It's a choice.  You choose to allow who offends you and who does not.  While yes, one may disagree with the Christian based morals that are the fabric of this nation, it doesn't automatically mean they should be offended.  They have to make that choice.  Just as one would have to make the choice in being offended by some random stranger calling you an idiot.

As he indicates, it's very important to understand this distinction.  It's very similar to "picking your battles", but on a more internal level.  I believe it takes a mature individual to recognize this distinction and allow who can hurt and offend us.

The entire interview is really good as well, check it out here.